How to Plan a Family Vacation to Niue
Looking for something different in the South Pacific? Niue is far from your “fly and flop” holiday. This is the world’s largest raised coral atoll that just begs to be explored! Delve down short sea tracks to sheltered swimming holes with the clearest water and an abundance of tropical fish. Start the day off with spotting whales and dolphins on the surface and end your day with an educational session learning about the local coconut crab or watching some cultural dancing. Enjoy some downtime at a unique mini golf course or simply slurping on slushies in Niue’s peaceful little capital, Alofi.
Needless to say, we’re enthused by the wonders of Niue and we think you and your little ones will be too. Let us show you more in this complete travel guide to Niue for families!
A Quick Introduction to Niue
Location: Niue is an island in the South Pacific Ocean, in between Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands. It is approximately 2,400km (1,491 miles) northeast of New Zealand.
Size: 261 km² (101 mi²)
Climate: Daily average temperature – 25°C/77°F, yearly average rainfall – 1,955mm/77″
Find out more in What is the Weather Like in Niue?
Time zone: UTC/GMT-11
Find out more in What is the Niue Time Zone?
Find out more in Who are the People of Niue?
Languages: Niuean and English
Find out more in What is the Niue Language?
And now that the adults have their facts, how about the Fun Facts About Niue for Kids?
How to Get to Niue
There are three main ways to get to Niue: flights, cruises and private sailing yachts. As flights are the most popular way to get to Niue, let’s start there.
Flights to Niue
You don’t need to worry about comparing flights to Niue, as Niue receives a very limited schedule of flights per week with Air New Zealand. The only flight directly to Niue are between Auckland Aiport, New Zealand, and Hanan Airport in Niue, which takes approximately three hours. Check out Which Airlines Fly to Niue? for more details.
It’s also worth mentioning the unusual airport departure process for your return flight, which you can find out more about in our guide, Leaving Niue: The Niue Airport Departure Process.
Cruises to Niue
For a quick visit to Niue, an alternative way to get to the island is on a South Pacific cruise. Cruises to Niue depart from either Auckland (New Zealand), Papeete (Tahiti) or Lautoka (Fiji). Due to the rocky nature of the island, cruise passengers can only disembark at Niue if the weather and the swell are safe enough. Often visits to Niue are cancelled in bad weather. Learn more about cruising to Niue in The Guide to Taking a Cruise to Niue.
Sailing to Niue
Visiting yachts to Niue must stop at Alofi Bay and call Niue Radio on VHF Channel 16 in order to arrange customs clearance. Follow the instructions given. Then radio the Niue Yacht Club on VHF Channel 10 for mooring allocation and advice for mooring. Niue has just 17 moorings available. Learn more about sailing to Niue in The Guide to Sailing to Niue.
A Note on Customs Declarations
Niue has strict biosecurity measures at the border to stop unwanted pests and diseases from entering the country. Therefore, anyone arriving in Niue has to declare any “risk items” they have packed in their luggage – even common items like food and sports gear. Be sure to read up on Everything You Need to Know About Arriving in Niue so you are prepared.
Check out our complete guide on How to Get to Niue for even more tips on making your way to the island.
The Best Time for a Family Trip to Niue
Niue is a tropical island with warm temperatures experienced throughout the year. It has only two distinct seasons, the hot and humid wet season and the drier and cooler dry season. Learn more in What is the Weather Like in Niue?
Wet Season (November to April)
The wet season, also known as summer, is Niue’s most hot and humid season with temperatures typically 22-29°C (72-84°F). Rain tends to be more frequent than the dry season with a monthly average of 156-300mm (6.1-11.8″) and there is a small risk of cyclones affecting the country.
Dry Season (May to October)
The dry season, also called winter, is a drier and cooler season with temperatures typically around 21-27°C (70-81°F). The average monthly rainfall is 90-160mm (3.5-6.3″). This season is also best for seeing whales in Niue
So when is the best time to travel to Niue? Check out our complete guide, The Best Time to Visit Niue, which dives deeper into the subject.
Family Packing List for Niue
The main thing you need to keep in mind when packing for your family for Niue is making sure everyone has a tropical wardrobe that includes some more modest items of clothing for exploring Niues’s villages. A packing list for each member of the family might look a little something like this:
- Dresses/skirts below the knee to use during village visits or church services
- Light shirts/T-shirts to cover the shoulders to use during village visits or church services
- Sarong (paleu) to cover swimwear after swimming
- Light sleepwear
- Light jacket/cardigan/pashmina for cooler evenings
- Rash vest for sun protection
- Light cotton shirt to cover arms for sun protection
- Light rain jacket
- Walking shoes/sandals
- Reef shoes
And that’s just the clothes! For a full packing list of everything to take, including accessories and toiletries, check out The Complete Packing List for Niue. You might also be interested in the handy items listed in the 10 Best Kids Gadgets to Take to Niue.
Health Products to Pack
Tap water is Ok to drink at certain accommodations on the island, but not everywhere. The island also experiences high UV levels and mosquitos, so packing products for your health is recommended. Natural kids’ sunscreens and mosquito repellents are advised to protect your family and Niue’s fragile ecosystem. Instead of buying bottled water, use reusable purification bottles for obvious environmental reasons. See our health essentials packing list in What Medication to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for Niue, as well as extra tips in the 10 Health & Safety Tips for Travelling Niue with Kids.
The Currency in Niue
The currency of Niue is the New Zealand Dollar. Cash is the most widely accepted payment method with some outlets accepting MasterCard, Visa and New Zealand debit cards. There is no ATM on the island, but you can take money out at selected outlets. See What is the Best Way to Pay in Niue? for more information.
Do You Need a Tourist Visa to Visit Niue?
To enter Niue, you need a passport that is valid for up to three months after your arrival date. A free Visitor Permit is granted upon entry if you are from a visa-waiver country. Otherwise, an Entry Permit is required, as explained in Do You Need a Visa to Visit Niue?
How Long Should a Family Vacation in Niue Be?
Niue might make for an idyllic tropical getaway to simply relax for a few days – and that’s fine; we all need to R&R from time to time. Most families, however, are here to explore one of the most unique islands in the South Pacific along with its natural attractions and marine experiences. With that in mind, here’s what you can achieve in certain timeframes…
4 Days / A Long Weekend in Niue
[Update: Check Which Airlines Fly to Niue? for the latest flight schedule to see if this itinerary is compatible with current flights]. Over a long weekend, you will have time to do some sightseeing on both coasts of the island, but not much time for activities and tours with many being closed on a Sunday. See Niue Family Itinerary: 3 Days / Weekend for a recommended itinerary or see How to Plan a Family Weekend in Niue.
5 Days in Niue
[Update: Check Which Airlines Fly to Niue? for the latest flight schedule to see if this itinerary is compatible with current flights]. For five day, you can explore both coasts of the island, as well as fit in one or two tours. See Niue Family Itinerary: 5 Days for a trip idea or check out How to Plan a 5 Day Family Trip to Niue.
7 Days/ One Week in Niue
One week in Niue gives you time to visit all of the major highlights along the coast, as well as do some of your bucket list activities. See Niue Family Itinerary: 7 Days / One Week and How to Plan a One-Week Family Trip to Niue for recommended trip ideas.
14 Days / Two Weeks in Niue
This amount of time in Niue allows you to enjoy all of Niue’s coastal attractions, fit in the activities and tours you’ve dreamed of, as well as time to relax. See Niue Family Itinerary: 14 Days / Two Weeks or How to Plan a Two-Week Family Trip to Niue for itinerary suggestions.
How to Get Around Niue
Admittedly, there are very few options for transport in Niue. Most families opt for renting their own car for ultimate freedom, but the island’s one taxi, accommodation/airport transfers and perhaps cycling for older children and teens are alternatives.
With no public transport on the island, renting a car is highly recommended to make the most out of Niue. Niue’s car rental operators offer airport drop-off so you can pick up your rental on arrival. There are also rental depots in Alofi and near the airport should you want to rent a car later in your trip. Note that a Niue Driver’s License needs to be purchased to legally drive in Niue. Find out more in The Guide to Car Hire in Niue.
Many family accommodations in Niue offer airport transfer services, getting you to and from your accommodation and the airport at the start and the end of your holiday. Some offer this as a complimentary service, while others have a fee. Find out more about transfers in the Airport Transfer Options in Niue.
There is one taxi on the island, only available by booking over the phone. Find out more in The Guide to Taxis in Niue.
Bicycle and E-Bike Rental
Some accommodations and car rental companies hire bicycles and e-bikes to explore some of the island and bike trails. Note that the island is too big to typically enjoy cycling around and children’s bike rentals are extremely limited. Find out more in The Guide to Mountain Biking in Niue.
For more ways to get around, as well as more transport advice, head over to our Niue Transport Guide: 11 Ways to Get Around Niue.
Family Accommodation in Niue
Niue keeps its accommodation options small and intimate. There is only one resort on the island, while the rest of Niue’s accommodations come in the form of boutique cottage complexes/motels, holiday homes and guesthouses.
By far Niue’s largest accommodation, the Scenic Matavai Resort is a family-friendly four-star resort with a pool, restaurant and evening entertainment. The main resort has international hotel-standard rooms, while the Scenic Matavai Villas & Apartments offer self-catering facilities and its own pool. Note that the villas and apartments are approximately a kilometre away from the main resort. Find out more about the resort in the 10 Best Hotels & Resorts in Niue.
Cottage Complexes / Motels
Accommodations like Namukulu Cottages, Taloa Heights and Breeze offer a handful of self-contained cottages surrounding communal facilities, such as a swimming pool or whale lookout. Check out our descriptions of Niue’s cottage complexes and motels in How to Pick the Best Villa in Niue for You, as well as the 5 Best Motels in Niue and the 10 Best Self-Catering Accommodations in Niue.
Niue has plenty of holiday homes allowing families to experience their own quiet corner of the island. Find out more in How to Pick the Best Holiday Home in Niue for You, while the top options are listed in the 10 Best Holiday Homes in Niue.
Guesthouses / Lodges
An affordable accommodation option in Niue, guesthouses and lodges are typically one large home renovated into a B&B-style accommodation. Expect private guest rooms, some with ensuites, as well as shared facilities, such as a kitchen, lounge and bathroom. Note that family rooms in this style of accommodation are extremely limited (but some do exist), so book quickly. See what else to expect in How to Pick the Right Guesthouse in Niue for You and check out our top picks in the 10 Best Guesthouses in Niue.
Family-Friendly Activities in Niue
Niue provides a natural playground for children, from fish-filled lagoons for safe swimming to amazing wildlife encounters. You’ll have a blast exploring the “Rock of the Pacific” as a family.
Things to Do in Niue with Kids
- Have a swim at the Limu Pools
- Watch whales and dolphins from the whale lookouts
- Visit a Niuean primary school
- Explore caves and snorkel with fish at the Talava Arches
- Play some clifftop mini golf
- Get in some pool time
- Learn how to survive in the wild on Misa’s Nature Tour
- Learn about uga, coconuts or weaving at one of the Scenic Matavai’s activities nights
- Have an ice cream in Alofi!
For full details of each of the above experiences, see the 10 Things To Do in Niue with Kids. Otherwise, here are some of the highlights…
Go for a Swim and a Snorkel
Niue’s coast is lined with amazing swimming spots, many of which are safe for kids! Some highlights include the Talava Arches, accessed by a 30-minute sea track through the forest and a short scramble through limestone caves. You’ll emerge at a view of the Talava Arches, as well as a safe coral-filled channel for swimming. Another popular spot for families is the Limu Pools where even parents with littlest ones can enjoy the calm and shallow waters at low tide. For more details, check out our 8 Best Sea Tracks & Places to Swim in Niue for Kids.
Watch Whales and Dolphins from Shore
Some might be sceptical about whether you can actually get good viewings of whales and dolphins from the shores of Niue but, truly, seeing pods of dolphins leap across the surface is an almost daily occurrence for many! What’s more, between July and September/October, humpback whales and their calves can be seen playing on the surface, sometimes even breaching to make exciting displays! While many clifftop accommodations, like the Scenic Matavai Resort (which has binoculars for guests) and Kaliki Lodge, offer fantastic whale and dolphin watching from their properties, you’ll also find the best whale-watching sites signposted along the west coast of the island. Check out the 10 Places to Spot Whales in Niue for more information.
Play Clifftop Mini Golf
For some fun family downtime, who can say no to some mini-golf? Yes, Niue has its own mini golf course in one of the most unique locations, atop a 30m cliff! Meander along 18 holes nestled in coastal bush on this family-friendly golf course. At the end of the battle, relax with a milkshake at the on-site Vaiolama Cafe! The golf course is located in Alofi South. Learn more in The Complete Guide to Golf in Niue.
Educational and Cultural Activities for Kids
While swimming, watching wildlife and playing mini-golf is fun, be sure to include some more meaningful experiences in your family itinerary! Niue offers families the opportunity to learn more about the nature and culture of a tropical island.
Visit a Niue School
See what a school is like in the South Pacific and get some cultural insights from other children at the Niue Primary School. Every Friday morning at 8.45am, visitors are invited to their morning assembly where they do some cultural performances. Find the primary school next to the Niue High School – take the turn-off at the Police Station in Alofi. See more cultural activities like this in the 10 Best Ways to Experience the Niue Culture.
Misa’s Nature Tour
Learn about surviving in the wild on Misa’s Nature Tour – an informative tour for all ages! The approximately two-hour tour is run by Misa, a Niuean who grew up living and surviving off the local forest. Learn how to make fire, try coconut through its different stages of life, see traditional cooking tools and weapons, and meet the forest-dwellers, such as the uga (coconut crab) and flying foxes! Find Misa’s Tour just 1.5km (one mile) from Alofi opposite the high school. For more nature tours to check out, see the 7 Best Nature Tours in Niue.
Food in Niue: Where to Eat and Self-Catering
Niue has a small but varied range of restaurants, bars and cafes with international influences including Japanese, Indian, Chinese, American, British and more. Due to limited seating at most restaurants, it’s recommended to book a table, especially in the high season. Kids’ menus are a common feature at Niue’s restaurants and resort. See all of the restaurants on the island in The Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Niue.
Niuean food is best sampled at arranged umu/Niuean buffet nights, as well as occasionally at the Niue Market and village show days. Find out more about what local dishes to try in the 8 Unique Foods in Niue You Have to Try.
Self-catering facilities are available at almost all of Niue’s accommodations where visitors can buy groceries from the large supermarket, Swansons Supermarket, as well as from smaller grocery stores in Alofi. See The Guide to Food Shopping in Niue for more advice.
We go into much more detail on where to eat, what to eat, self-catering and food tours in The Guide to Food in Niue.
Typical Costs and Travel Budget: How Much Does a Family Trip to Niue Cost?
We all travel very differently. Therefore, making a precise budget for every family travelling to Niue is, quite frankly, an impossible task. Nevertheless, you can work out your own family’s needs, thus budget, by simply looking at the typical prices listed below or in our article, Niue Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Niue Cost?
The Cost of Accommodation in Niue
- Budget family unit or holiday home/night – NZ$160-$200
- Resort room interconnecting/night – NZ$650-$840
- Premium studio apartment/night – NZ$225-$250
- Premium family holiday home/night – NZ$230-$500
For more information and the cost of accommodation services, see our guide, What is the Cost of Accommodation in Niue?
The Cost of Food in Niue
- Main breakfast meal – NZ$9-$22
- Main lunch meal – NZ$13-$25
- Main dinner meal – NZ$20-$35
- Niuean buffet – NZ$50-$60
- Small coffee – NZ$5-$6
- Bottle of beer – NZ$4-$10
- Glass of wine – NZ$11-$16
- Cocktail – NZ$15-$17
- Soft drink – NZ$4-$5
Grocery prices for self-catering can be found in What is the Cost of Food in Niue?
The Cost of Activities
- Guided orientation tour – NZ$70
- Uga hunting tour – NZ$70
- Nature tour – NZ$50-$70
- Museum entry – NZ$10
- Whale/dolphin swimming tour – NZ$170
- Snorkelling by boat – NZ$90-$100
- Snorkel hire/day – Free-NZ$10
- Private fishing charter/half-day – NZ$500
For more information and a list of all of Niue’s free activities, see our guide, What is the Cost of Activities in Niue?
The Cost of Transport
- Niue Driver’s License – NZ$22.50
- Car rental/day – NZ$55-$75
- Petrol/litre – NZ$2.64+
- Bicycle rental/day – NZ$10
- Taxi/kilometre – NZ$2
- Accommodation/airport transfers – Free
For more information on transport prices, see What is the Cost of Transport in Niue? And again, check out our guide, Niue Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Niue Cost? for more budget tips and costs.
More About Niue for Families
That’s it for our complete travel guide to Niue for families but by no means the end of our tips! Check out the following guide for about Niue for families:
- 10 Essential Tips for Travelling to Niue With Children
- 10 Things To Do in Alofi with Kids
- 10 Health & Safety Tips for Travelling Niue with Kids
- 10 Best Kids Gadgets to Take to Niue
- 5 Best Reef-Safe Sunscreens for Kids & Babies
Finally, if this complete travel guide to Niue for families wasn’t enough then be sure to check out more advice in The Complete Travel Guide to Niue, as well as the Niue Travel Tips: 31 Tips for Travelling in Niue should you be staying in the capital.